Winter Babywearing

How do you babywear in cold weather?  As it turns out, there are many options.

  • Babywearing outerwear specifically designed for accommodating the two of you and the babycarrier.  Babywearing outwear comes in the form of coats, jackets, vests and ponchos.  Some are for cooler weather than others.  Some are water resistant.  Some are made from natural and some from synthetic materials.
  • Babywearing covers that cover the baby and baby carrier for warmth, but do not cover the babywearer (who would wear their own coat).
  • Larger winter coats for the babywearer to wear that are big enough to close around baby as well, so that both are inside the same coat.  Mens coats, swing coats and A line coats are all good options, buttoned up just as far as baby’s neck.  As baby and wearer would be sharing the same head hole, it may be necessary to wear a scarf or shawl to cover your neck and chest between the two of you.
  • Traditional shawl, poncho, or pashmina can be wrapped around both of you.  Wool is an excellent material for warmth, water resistance, and breathability.
  • Bundling baby within the carrier, and wearing your own coat on top.

Some people do their bundling (mother and baby in winter gear) and then put the babycarrier on top of all the coats.  I am not a fan of this method as coats can be slippery and unsafe to babywear over, and the bulk makes it difficult to get a comfortably tight carry.  It also eliminates the babywearing benefit of having baby close enough to hear your heartbeat, smell you, etc.  Also, your warmth is the best way to keep your baby warm so I like to avoid layers between you.

You should also think about whether you will want yourself and baby to stay bundled up when you get to your destination.  If you’re going to the mall or grocery store, you’re not going to want to be wearing coats when you get there, and you will probably still want baby wrapped up when you get there, so it will be most convenient to NOT have baby bundled up inside the wrap.  One coat over both of you is easiest to remove and carry.

If you’re wearing your toddler to the park where he will want to get down and play with older siblings, then you will want baby out of the wrap, but with his own coat.  I find it works well to wrap the baby up with his arms out of the wrap, and then put the coat on outside of the carrier.  His arms will go into the sleeves, hood will go over his head, and the coat will remain open, covering his back outside the wrap while his front is toastily pressed against yours.  When you get to the park, you pop him out (may I recommend a front cross carry so that you don’t have to remove the wrap?) and you and he leave your coats on and button them up at this point.

Keep in mind that babies are not supposed to wear coats in carseats if the seat belt has to be adjusted looser to accommodate the extra bulk.  A blanket over top of the baby once strapped in is a safer plan.  So if you are driving, you want the easiest way to keep baby bundled up on the way to the car, and from the car to the house, without a baby coat or bunting.  If you don’t have other things to carry or other kids hands to hold, and your car is just out in the driveway, it may be easiest to simply carry your baby in a blanket or under your coat, climb into the car, close the doors, and get him buckled in and tucked in.  When you get to your destination, you can either wrap baby up while sitting in the back seat (may take some practice or a roomy vehicle), or carry bundled baby into the mall (for example) and then wrap him up once you are inside.

If you like the idea of a babywearing coat, but lack the funding, consider making your own:

make a babywearing poncho

make a zip-in insert to turn your regular winter coat into a babywearing coat

convert a coat to a babywearing coat

convert a coat to a babywearing coat for back carries

Comments 5

  1. Tad wrote:

    I’ve never had a wrap big enough, so I’ve always gone with a BabyBjorn close to the skin, then coats on top. That’s worked for us all the way up to Quebec where we were there for an outdoor grand opening at 0°F:

    http://www.scientologyparent.com/day-161-bundled-up-for-the-quebec-grand-opening/

    Posted 03 Nov 2010 at 2:10 pm
  2. sarah wrote:

    There is now a company that manufactures the zip-in inserts for a pretty reasonable price. You can check them out at babyWAWL.com.

    Posted 02 Nov 2011 at 4:50 pm
  3. Rachel wrote:

    Have you seen the Winter Sling Thing? I’ve got one and it has been really useful in the cold weather and much better than trying to keep a blanket tucked around my baby!

    http://folksy.com/items/2666125-The-Winter-Sling-Thing-Fleece-Cover-for-Baby-Carrier

    Posted 28 Jan 2013 at 9:31 pm
  4. tryxus wrote:

    I sewed my own all-season carrier cover:
    http://tryxusdesign.blogspot.hu/2013/09/baby-carrier-cover-part-3.html
    I will use this one. :)

    Posted 03 Sep 2013 at 6:42 am
  5. Diana wrote:

    Awesome–thanks for the link!

    Posted 05 Sep 2013 at 11:52 am

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